Thursday, 13 November 2014

Tips for collecting an opt in SMS mobile phone database

As you probably know, the Spam Act has been around since 2004, and it protects consumers from unwanted emails and SMS.

Well we all know that it hasn't really stopped emails, but thankfully mobile phones don't get too many spams as it costs the sender...and spammers don't want to pay to spam you!

So how do you collect peoples's mobile numbers and be compliant with the law?

That's easier than you think.

There are plenty of good cheap database programs around now, or use an Excel spreadsheet. There's also companies like Mail Chimp or Wufoo Forms that allow you to create and forms to your website or emails. Or get your webmster to add a simple form to your site.

Make sure you have a call to action on your website where people can subscribe themselves ("opt in" to receiving follow up messages from you. This would normally ask for emails, but why not ask for their mobile number as well?

Put an extra box in the form and give them the option of how they'd like to hear from you.

Here's an example of a form to collect mobile numbers from a US website Dollar General: 

After a customer pays, get the staff to ask if they'd like to receive VIP specials via SMS, and enter them in a database.

Also make sure you instruct your staff to enter data in a consistent manner. Even have a little guide on how to enter mobile numbers so you don't end up with a dog's breakfast database!

EG: A nice format

Dog's Breakfast:
+61 555 5555
0466666 666

If you use Excel, it tends to strip out the first zero but don't worry about that as the SMS Express system converts this into the correct format for sms broadcasting.

But just make sure staff are consistent and the whole 10 digits are there (by the way, we do have some little tools to fix a dog's breakfast database, so holler if you'd like us to tidy it up for you!  Free for all SMS Express customers).

Under the Spam Act you are legally allowed to contact people if they have done business with you, and they'd reasonably expect to hear from you in some way (via email, letter or SMS) . You can use any of the above ideas, or send out cards to your members and clients offering your SMS alert service, or ask people when they join if they'd like to receive your alerts via SMS.

Hairdressers and clubs do this very well by sending out appointment reminders and texting birthday greetings or any special occasions.

There's nothing wrong with running a competition to get people to hand over their mobile numbers, as long as you make them aware via your terms that they are opting in to receive texts from you.

To be frank I am not a huge fan of "buying" customers in this manner, just as I think buying Facebook likes is not really a good strategy,  as people can be flaky! They are likely not interested in your product, and just want a freebie, but that may be fine for your business. You can only prove me wrong!

 ..and of course with any electronic communication, you have to tell people who you are and how to optout if they choose to.

By law you must do this, and simplest way is via a simple statement in your SMS like: "2optout rply STOP". The SMS Express system will automatically add these STOPs to your blacklist so you cannot SMS them again (unless you ask us to release them from the blacklist if it's an error).

 As always, if you have any questions, just contact 1300 668 287 or SMS 0418384394 or visit

Apple in lawsuit over alleged text message blocking

A woman in the US has taken Apple to court alleging that Apple's messaging system blocks people from receiving texts from iPhones if they switched to a rival phone.

Plaintiff Adrienne Moore claims that after she switched from iPhone4 to a Galaxy 5, she no longer received SMS from people with iPhones, and alleges that Apple did not tell consumers that their IOS software system blocks delivery from Apple devices if iPhone uders changed to a non-Apple device.

You can read the full story

Friday, 7 November 2014

SMS ideas to get customers through the door over Christmas and New Year..or anytime!

Christmas is a very important time for retail. After Christmas is also important because it can go a bit dead, so here's a couple of SMS campaign ideas to get customers in the door.

I should also point out that you can use these ideas ANYTIME to generate some traffic, not just for Christmas..also if you are not a retailer, you can still send Christmas wishes or offers to your clients, members or teams.

You can't send images via SMS Express, but who needs them anyway? A text voucher will do the same job and won't cost your customer to download.

Example: (NOTE: SMS Express allows you to personalise messages using the Value placeholders...ask me if you need help).
"Hi Paul, Avoid the crush. Schmooze Menswear is having a post-xmas sale.Show this SMS to our staff and you'll get 50% off anything in the store.See you soon! Jake & Team. 2optout rply STOP"

....or why not encourage Paul to forward the SMS to his friends? More the merrier...

"Hi Paul, Avoid the crush. Schmooze Menswear is having a post-xmas sale.Show this SMS to our staff and you'll get 50% off anything in the store.And feel free to fwd this to your friends & we'll give them a discount too. Show them what great style you have. See you soon! Jake & Team. 2optout rply STOP"

...and get your staff to track how many people redeemed the offer.

If you have an ecommerce site which looks good on a mobile and customers can easily make a purchase, this kind of campaign would be great..

Send them to your website with a promotional code.

"Hi Paul, Schmooze Menswear is having a post-xmas sale. Go to and enter the code TIGER at the checkout to get your 20% VIP discount. See you soon! Jake & Team. 2optout rply STOP"

If you have a long website name (URL), use a service like to get a short URL. has another great can track the number of clicks, and monitor the success of the SMS....and IT'S FREE!!

Now that Twitter and Facebook and Instagram, and whatever else people share is around, it's enough to give you a migraine trying to keep up with the latest app. Never before has it been so HARD to communicate with people as we have so many communication channels. People are not on Facebook, or never read emails, or not on Facebook and Twitter and even good old email are so full of clutter it's hard for your message to cut through.

But good old simple SMS is the main medium that gets through to pretty much everybody, and people pay attention to the beep beep on their phone and they can respond immediately.

If you want to discuss an SMS promotional idea, you are always welcome to give me a call on 1300 668 287. If there's one thing I love discussing, it's SMS marketing!

Oh and don't forget SMS Express has a BIRTHDAY Module where ypu can load and send automated greetings at certain times of the year, like birthdays or anniversaries of special of our clients sends out special funny sms on the anniversaries of when their staff members joined the company.